This October 23 marked the historic day that I finally could attend my very first (and probably last) Scorpions concert. I can still vividly remember my yearning for them to perform here for the very special day of August 8, 2008 – which was a little over eight years ago (!!!). In fact I had been a fan much longer than that which could be dated back to my last year in secondary school, so it’s safe to say that I had become a fan since when I was 14 years old – and now I’m 25.
Scorpions has always been special to me even though I don’t follow them as much as I use to – they introduced me to the Rock scene. Since then I’ve discovered so much wonderful music, made loads of friends and most of all it has somewhat defined my personality. I can blame it and I can’t, but all in all it’s a part of my identity and will always be. I was truly the definition of being a fanatic, and I could spend my free time remembering their albums’ names and release year. I still listen to their old materials every now and then and find waves of emotions evading – that’s what good music does to the soul.
Back to the beginning of August when my friends from up North messaged me that Scorpions would very likely be joining Monsoon festival, I was indifferent: I haven’t followed them much anymore and the travel would take so much money and effort, so I resorted in not going. Decided. Period. But then there were so many things happening that I decided I should somewhat break free and do something different that could hopefully change my mind for the better – I traveled to Thailand – and came back so fresh a mind and a yearning to be on the move. Again on a whim I booked my plane tickets, my hotel room and the concert ticket and off I went to Hanoi for a stay of 3 days. It’s quite a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and somewhat to put a realization of my old days’ dream. At first I only wanted to be there to attend the concert, but heck, why shouldn’t I do a little tourist rituals too (visiting places and shit, that is)?
We arrived at the avenue around 5pm, got our pass and entered the fan zone shortly after, and luckily, we were in almost the front row (except there was no row – it was a music festival after all, and we were all standing the whole time). Idiotape from South Korea opened the act, which I didn’t have much interest in. Their electronic type of music was fine enough, but without any real memorable moments so I count it as a pass. After almost an hour long session we were to wait for the crew to check all the equipments and instruments (Scorpions does require a strict level of perfection for their shows, undoubtedly) for an another hour. I and my mate chatted about our music preferences and recommendations while guessing which songs they would play (we were correct about Rock You Like A Hurricane, No One Like You, Blackout, Big City Nights etc to name a few) and staring at the lineup of guitars and basses they would be using (Im looking at you, the iconic white-with-black-stripes Explorers). The anticipation was intense, except for some moments when the crowd would be all ooohhh-ing and aaahhh-ing whenever a crew appeared on stage.
I was thirsty, bored and tired but as soon as I caught a glimpse of the rhythm guitarist (Rudolf Schenker) I started to scream my lungs out: I couldn’t believe in my eyes he was right there. Soon after the set began and I didn’t even know if it was real! The band I started listening to years ago and of whom I dreamed about seeing so much was right there, in front of my eyes. The entire she-bang: Rudolf Schenker, Paweł Mąciwoda, Klaus Meine, Mikkey Dee and my hero – Matthias Jabs!
I was drifted into another dimension in which I was an entire different version of myself: carefree, energetic and, in the lack of a better word, YOLO-mood. I danced like nobody was watching, laughed, smiled, sang along, screamed, shouted, jumped with arms up in the air. The setlist was a mixture of both old and new songs (which, in all honesty, I think the new songs are shitty). The initial star-struck soon went away and I felt a sense of belonging: I belong to this atmosphere, to this kind of music and energy! I secretly laughed at people who talked about how they admired Scorpions nonstop during the soundcheck and all those chicks who stamped the band’s logo on their arms but didn’t know shit about their songs. I guessed the best they could name were classics like Rock You Like A Hurricane, Holiday, Still Loving You and Wind Of Change (which they all played during the show). The self-delusion is strong with me, I know.
I enjoyed the show much more than I had thought I would, and had an absolute blast – the best time of my life, no exaggeration. They played without any signs of tiredness and age (yeah they’re quite old) especially Klaus who sang exactly like how he sounded decades ago. The energy was real on stage and in the crowd. There was such an indescribable bond that music offers and brings people of all ages and social statuses together, to enjoy the moment and live like they have never lived before. Almost two hours rocketed and I was sad to see them go back to behind the curtains, but was extremely glad to catch a drumstick from Klaus himself as a relic of this moment in a million years. I took much less pictures than I thought I would, but heck, I would rather use my eyes to look at their performance than at the phone’s screen angling the perfect shoots.